So, this topic might seem obvious, but stick with us! So many people are trying to balance fun & life with their health & weight loss goals. So, eating out is a pretty common thing these days. We get it. But, we want to offer that it’s really tripping up your progress. More than you understand. And, losing weight is hard enough. We 100% do not want to make it harder or slower!
So we’re going to tell you why it’s messing you up. We love to know the why and we think you do too. If your brain understands it a little more, it might be easier to make some changes, right? Then we’ll talk about how…how, in this eating-out-loving-culture we live in, how can you change this habit?
Let’s dive in.
First of all, let’s get the obvious out of the way:
1. Restaurant food is not good for you.
Preservatives, sodium, gluten, dairy and all the other things you’d be limiting otherwise are happening when you’re eating out. These things obviously stall your progress by causing bloat and inflammation.
The calories & portions at restaurants are ridiculous, as you know.
2. Eating out is an old, bad habit that triggers more old, bad habits.
When you’re trying to eat healthy, you’re doing something new. It’s not easy! When you go out to eat, the “old” you rears up, and the old habits, routines, excuses, thoughts will show up. So, you’re more likely to say things like, “It’s okay, just this once, just one more bite, I deserve this, I’ll restart tomorrow” or whatever old thought pattern you’ve got. You most likely have a history of indulgence at a restaurant, so it’s going to be much harder to break that habit when you’re just getting started. Restaurant food is so hard to say no to and you most likely have a habit of not saying no most of your life.
3. Eating out means you haven’t solved your food problems.
What we mean by that is that if you’re eating out often, you’re probably not planning your food, either weekly or daily. That means that you’re still finding yourself too busy to make your health a priority. That needs to be solved.
You’re also not being intentional about what food you’re putting in your body if you’re eating out often. That needs to change as well.
If you’re eating out a lot, you might still be eating in response to your emotions like feeling stressed, upset, busy, sad, mad or what have you.
Another food problem we try to solve is to make it so that food is not the best part of your day, that it’s not the thing you’re looking forward to in order to find pleasure, relaxation, fun or relief from your day. If you’re still eating out a lot, chances are you haven’t solved that food problem.
The sooner we solve these problems, the sooner you hit your goal. So, stalling is only going to make it take longer.
4. Eating out gets you off track.
The final problem with eating out is that it gets you off track. You. might’ve been doing really well for two days and then you found yourself downing a cheeseburger and fries. While that’s not the worst thing that could ever happen (remember, it only takes one meal to get back on track), we can often make it seem like the end of the world. Instead of just getting back on track, so many times when we “mess up” once, we throw the baby out with the bathwater. We completely abandon our plan and progress saying things like: “Oh well, I might as well give up now,” or “I’ll just start over next week.” You might feel bad or see the scale and get mad at yourself. Then you give up.
All of these things are tough to overcome when you’ve already been using most of your energy to stay on your plan. Again, we don’t want to add anything that makes losing weight or eating well harder. Eating out is basically setting yourself up to stumble or at least to have to try REALLY hard not to stumble.
So, are you convinced that eating out is stalling your progress? Great. Now, let’s brainstorm some ways to change!
1. Obviously, meal planning & prepping is the easiest way to avoid eating out.
Most of the time you eat out because you have no brain calories at meal time. So, it’s “easier” to hit the drive through or let someone serve you at a restaurant. We get that. And we want you to have that same easy, no-decision-making process but with your own goal-hitting food plan. Do your busy, stressed out self a favor, and make the plan ahead of time. Then, all you have to do is stick to it. This is REAL self-care. This is truly taking care of yourself.
Meal planning needs to be a habit, something you do every weekend but also every day.
Don’t make it boring and bland. Get creative about how to make your favorite restaurant meals at home, but healthier!
2. Look behind the curtain.
Think long and hard about why you’re eating out. How can you get those benefits without eating out?
Is it for social hour? We’ll talk about that in a moment.
Is it to avoid being at home because your home and/or kitchen is a mess?
Is it to avoid picky eaters?
Whatever the reason is, let’s get honest and start really working on that issue instead. Remember, dealing with these things is what is going to make you life-long successful and, truly, more content & happy in life.
3. Change the game.
A lot of time our social life is wrapped around eating out. So, let’s change that game. Let’s be the example. Ask your friends and family if they’d like to meet for a walk, bike ride or something active. Maybe a game night. The good company, the laughs, the stories–that’s the real goal. Food doesn’t need to be involved.
4. Schedule only once a week.
We’d prefer once a month while you’re working on your goals, but we know that might not be realistic. So, let’s plan it on purpose, once a week. We call this joy eating. Let your family know, everyone can learn to look forward to it as the treat it really is. This will help your brain as well since it knows it always has some fun to look forward to.
5. Portion / box immediately.
One strategy is to immediately box or portion half of your meal. So many times we are full well before we finish eating but we keep going because it’s right there in front of our face! Trick the brain by boxing it up first. Then you’ll feel really good because you cleaned your plate but it won’t have been all of those calories. Bonus: you’ve now meal prepped for another meal. 😉
Okay. So we decided that losing weight and getting healthy is hard all on its own. Let’s not make it harder or slower by eating out so much.
This isn’t forever, this is for right now. Remember, if you change nothing, nothing changes. So, give yourself a chance at real progress!
Hey, if you need help with this, you’re in luck. We have a little brainstorming worksheet FREE for you. Use your biggest weapon to help you: your brain. Answer the questions, be real & honest with yourself. This workbook will help you think through this entire concept. And thinking through it will help you stick to your guns.